Had Our Rig Professionally Weighed

Merry Christmas to all.  We miss our family but had a great day despite it. Had a meal with eight strangers at the park event and met some new friends. The park organized the event. We donated $4 each for the meat and drinks. Everyone at your assigned table brings two dishes and we sat around like a family at the table.

I am keeping detailed notes regarding establishing our domicile while here in Texas. I planned to include other non-domicile topics that we just happened to have completed during the same timeframes. It became apparent with the amount of data that I should report about our rig being weighed in a separate blog post.

We paid the $55 and had a Weight Master here at the Escapees RV Club weigh the rig. I wrote in the title we had it “professionally weighed” because this is no drive on the truck scale and get a printout. The Weight Master goes over the results in detail and can provide recommendations as needed. The lady who handled the scales teaches at the Escapees Bootcamp. Among other discussions I asked about people having their rigs weighed and complaining about tire blowouts.  She says almost always those people have overweight RVs and do little to maintain proper tire inflation.

I tried but could not get a PDF file to work correctly within this post.  The file has a feature that allows you to hold the pointer or click on a highlighted area on the downloaded form, notes would then appear regarding each highlighted area. Please email me at mseneker@hotmail.com and I’ll send you the PDF with the ability to view the notes.  Otherwise, below is a link to our weight form.

Vilano 320GK and Ram 3800 Dually Weights

If you are towing or buying a fifth wheel in the 16,000 pound class, which are common for full-timers, then our weights will really help.

Because I could not get the darn PDF form to work correctly and to save you asking me to email it; I’ll include two areas of my notes from the form that are most important:

Regarding Combined Gross Weight Ratings for the Truck:

Before I knew more, this weight limit was what I used to pick a truck. I knew I wanted something capable of hauling 19,000 pounds or less. Because a couple of the heavier trailers we liked had max trailer weights that were 18,000 and 19,000 pounds.

The gross combination weight rating (GCWR) is a specific maximum weight limit determined by the truck manufacturer. The GCWR takes into account two individual (yet attached) vehicles — the tow vehicle and the trailer. Doing the math, our truck is maxed out with a 19,800-pound fifth wheel trailer. (33,800 gross combined weight limit less the max truck weight of 14,000 GVWR).

This was a tricky number for me as the weight charts for our truck clearly indicate it has a max trailer weight rating of 25,020 pounds. I assume this is based on the truck not being at its max weight load to start with.

Our actual truck weighs 9,500 with occupants – and the dog, full fuel but no trailer hitched. Therefore, if the gross combined rating is 33,800 less the actual truck weight of 9,500 you would think I could tow around a 25,020-pound trailer. Apparently I can tow the 25,020 as long as I don’t have the truck packed with cargo.

Our truck has a 3.73 axle ratio. Change that to a 4.10 axle ratio and the gross combined weight limit goes up to 39,100 pounds.

As I found out talking to the Weight Master the truck can only handle the weight limitation of any one component such as on an axle, tires and more.

Regarding the Rear Axle Rating for a Truck:

The rear axle on our dually truck is rated at 9,720 pounds. That’s the max weight of cargo the rear axle can handle. The rear axle, on the same truck without dual rear wheels is rated at 7,000 pounds. I downloaded the charts way before I went truck shopping. And I don’t mean the charts that merely provide the “towing capacity” as those are close to worthless. Get the charts that show the axle weight ratings at the very least. And here is why:

THIS IS IMPORTANT

With the trailer attached the weight on our trucks rear axle is 7,450 pounds. This includes the stuff we are hauling in the bed of the truck, the hitch/pin weight of the trailer, loaded the passengers, fuel and whatever is shifted to the rear axle.

At 7450 pounds on the rear axle the weight exceeds the rating of the same truck that does not have dual rear tires by 450 pounds. Our hitch alone weights 220 pounds. I suspect if I took everything out of the bed of the truck, other than the hitch, I’d be closer to 7200 pounds. THE REAR AXLE RATING may set the actual limit of what you can tow.

Our trailer is rated for a gross weight of 16,000 pounds. We are 800 pounds under weight with a full tank of water and loaded for full time RV living. The rear axle weight on our truck would go up if we add more weight to the trailer.

If you want to guess at what would be the pin weight of a fifth wheel RV you can take the gross max weight of the trailer x 20%.  The Weigh Master  suggests using 25%. Either way, also add in a little for whatever you think you will have in the bed of the truck.

END OF MOST IMPORTANT – Know your truck’s rear axle rating.

I can see why not having a dually, long bed, diesel truck would be a benefit when you drive it every day. I really can.. Any long bed truck is harder to park and turn especially if you add two extra outside tires. If I only used the trailer while on vacation, there is no way I’d want a dually. But then again, I would not have bought the trailer we have if that was the case. Or if I flat out would not tolerate driving a dually then I’d buy a lighter trailer regardless, maybe something under 14,000 gross weight capacity or less.

The best advice I received before buying a truck was to get one setup to tow. Because towing is when you need to be the safest you can get.

I figured as we are fulltime RVers then our chances of having a crash or weight related issue would be more likely than if we used the trailer for vacations, if for no other reason than we are towing a lot of miles in one year compared to someone who uses their RV for vacation. And these dually trucks are very stable in high wind. If a tire goes flat in the back I’ve got three left to handle the weight while I drift to a stop.

The decision is yours to make.

I don’t have the charts for Chevy and Ford truck capacities. I had them when shopping for a truck however. All three brands build great trucks with almost identical warranties.

If you are towing anything near a 16,000 pound fifth wheel with a single rear wheel truck please watch what you put in the truck bed as you may be very close or just above the max weight the truck can handle per the manufacturer.

It was good to know that at this point we have 2,780 pounds of cargo in our trailer if you include a full fresh water tank with a weight of about 660 pounds. With no water we are at about 2,120 pounds of cargo.  Glad I set a minimum cargo capacity of 3,000 pounds  when we were shopping for our trailer. Deciding on your budget for a new RV rig and the minimum cargo capacity sure helps lower the number of RV’s to consider. Of course some required a lot less stuff when they travel.  And others travel with an overloaded RV.

When the tires of the trailer are weighed individually we are more than 1,000 pounds under weight per tire.  These Westlake G rated tires are rated at 4,400 pounds when the Goodyear G’s are rated for less weight. That’s a big reason you are seeing Westlakes on new trailers. Some call them China bombs but they are actually a South Korean Company.  So are car companies Kia and Hyundai. So are the tires on all new Ram heavy duty trucks (Nexen).

Now to get Karen used to driving this truck. She drove our last truck but it was not this huge and the long truck bed is harder to turn around corners or in parking lots. Use of mirrors is important. She should have the freedom to drive wherever she wants.

9 thoughts on “Had Our Rig Professionally Weighed

    • It went down good!! We have been planning longer stays over the holidays in one area rather than moving around. We had a great time with about 100 others in this park. Have even been invited over to visit with a guy and his wife who are long time RVers and purchased a home here in Livingston. They still travel as he is the regional VP for the motorhome association. This place is amazing. Can’t wait to write about it.

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  1. I think a full wheel by wheel weighing like SmartWeigh is essential for anyone even close to the limits of their truck or RV. The gross weight of our trailer is 21000 pounds and we have a Ford F350 configured for maximum tow capability. We have weighed twice. The first time the truck was good but with full water we were overweight on the trailer – one wheel and gross weight. Second time we did not have full water because we just don’t do that. We had also taken another pass at getting rid of stuff we hadn’t used. we were good across the board but not by a lot. We have more storage space than available weight to carry and I can see how that can get people in trouble as time goes on and we naturally gain a bit of things and weight.

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    • During my research on truck buying it became evident why folks go with the F350 for heavy towing. The numbers for the capabilities look good and in some cases, maybe even better than the F450 where you loose a little due to the extra weight of the F450. Turn radius on the F450 is nice I hear.

      Our trailer tires on the passenger side run 3 to 5 degrees warmer than the driver’s side. The SmartWeigh of course showed the numbers by tire and I still could not figure out why those tires ran a little higher. Weigh Master said maybe due to slop of roadway where the trailer was in the right lane and the highway sloped to the right for drainage. I suppose it’s possible every time I really paid attention to the tire monitor the sun just happened to be on the passenger side.

      Once we get back to our storage unit I’m bringing a box back to the trailer, like we did before we left last time. It fills up over time with stuff we don’t need. So far, and we are lucky, there is only one item we missed that’s back in storage. It’s a small camp shovel I would have liked to have to shovel coals for cast iron cooking. Improvised with a piece of tin and gloves that could take the heat when scoping coals.

      We are both very happy with the weight results and darn glad to have a trailer with better than average cargo capacity.

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  2. Cindi is already used to driving the RAM. Not sure she’s ready for a plunge into the deep end of towing yet.
    I have towed small trailers before. So far, all we have done is bring the new Montana home and then take it to indoor storage for the winter. That was a bit of an adventure as I had to back it down a 90’x10′ slot in the dark. Slow and steady but it went off without a hitch. I guess if I can handle that… well the guy that is storing for us said it was awesome for a first time backing up a 40 foot trailer. Trying not let it go to my head LOL.
    We have ~2950 lbs of CCC and my best estimate all in, falls with that number. Your numbers are encouraging that we won’t have any weight issues. Still planning on adding the Mor/ryde 8k IS in the spring on the way to the RV-D rally.

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    • I wonder if adding heavier axles really does increase what the trailer can haul? Given there is a lot of parts that make up a frame. Our trailer has an 8,000 axle option from the factory, although we did not get it. Presumably the frame/suspension can handle the extra weight. I know the tires could as long as the weight was distributed.

      I was happy with our numbers and it was good to know we were under the 3,000 pounds for actual cargo for full time living.

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      • Not sure if it does either, but with two longer slides on the road side containing the fridge, the pantry and the washer & dryer…With 8K IS we’ll have true 4000 lbs at each corner and I figure our weights on that side of the rig will be close to maximum and the extra capability can’t hurt. The tires are G rated and supposed to be good for 4080 lbs at 110 PSI but they will upgraded to H rated tires with the next couple of years just for added peace of mind.

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      • With our rig, we updated from 8k to 9k axles. That didn’t change the weight rating of the trailer but as you said it gave us a little more margin – one side is definitely heavier than the other. We would have been overweight with 8k.

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